Everything you need to know about the COVID-19 Vaccine
Busy Bee Pharmacy is an approved vaccination provider for the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.
COVID-19 vaccines help to protect our community against Coronavirus by preventing serious illness and death from COVID-19. Vaccinations are voluntary and free to all Australian citizens, permanent residents, refugees, asylum seekers and temporary visa-holders.
Busy Bee Pharmacy is committed in supporting the Australian Government in providing COVID-19 immunisation for our local area and wider community. Community Pharmacy is a critical partner from Phase 2A of the roll out.
For the most up-to-date details on the Coronavirus Vaccine roll out, to check your eligibility and when you may be due to be vaccinated, please see below links:
Booking your COVID-19 vaccination appointment
When it is your turn to get vaccinated, you can book HERE, call us on 08 9328 7885 or simply drop into our Northbridge store and talk to one of our friendly staff.
It is advisable to book appointments for both your first and second dose of the vaccine.
Please note important information regarding timing intervals between vaccines:
The preferred minimum interval between the Flu vaccine or other vaccines and any COVID-19 vaccine in 2021 is 7 days. This approach may reduce the likelihood of overlapping adverse events following immunisation.
If you are planning to book in for your COVID-19 vaccine, please seek advice from your Pharmacist, GP or immunising health care professional about the most appropriate time to make your appointment, so the minimum interval of 7 days from your Flu vaccine can be observed.
There is also a required interval between obtaining your first and second dose of the COVID-19 vaccines. Please talk to our Pharmacists if you need to confirm what the timing should be between the appointments.
Getting ready for your appointment
If you cannot attend your appointment, please let us know as soon as possible so we can allocate your time slot to another person and re-book your appointment. This helps to keep vaccine wastage at a minimum and keeps the vaccine rollout at speed.
Please do not come to your vaccination appointment:
if you are feeling unwell with fever, cough, runny nose or other symptoms that could be from COVID-19
if you are waiting for COVID-19 test results, or have tested positive for COVID-19
if you are a close contact of someone with COVID-19, or
if you are in quarantine.
Your safety is our priority.
For public safety due to COVID-19, please follow the guidance of our Pharmacy team regarding when attending your appointment to ensure we provide you with the personalised care and support you need.
After Your Vaccination
After receiving any vaccine, you may experience minor side effects. Most side effects are mild and usually last no more than a few days.
Common reactions to COVID-19 vaccinations include:
a sore arm
tiredness and fatigue
low level fever
muscle pain, or
Some people will have more significant flu-like symptoms from this vaccination compared to other vaccines and may require time away from normal activities. These symptoms are more common after the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine compared with the second dose. Contrary, the severity of side effects seems to increase with the second dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine as compared to the first dose.
After your COVID-19 vaccination, it is also important that you continue to protect those around you by:
washing your hands regularly with soap and water
keeping 1.5m from others
making sure the SafeWA app is active on your phone
staying informed about local restrictions
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Are the COVID-19 Vaccines safe?
Australia has some of the toughest safety standards in the world. All vaccines approved for use in Australia undergo robust scientific testing and analysis by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) to ensure they are effective and safe. For answers to all your COVID-19 vaccine questions please visit the Australian Government Department of Health resources here.
2. How were these vaccines developed so quickly?
While it may appear they have been developed very quickly, researchers around the world have been working hard to develop COVID-19 vaccines from the earliest stages of the pandemic. In response to the impacts of COVID-19, worldwide, unprecedented funding and collaboration occurred between regulators, governments, vaccine developers and scientists which allowed these vaccines to be developed quickly without compromising on quality, safety, and effectiveness.
3. Is the COVID-19 vaccination compulsory?
While the Australian Government supports and promotes immunisation, it is not mandatory, and individuals can choose whether to get vaccinated.
4. How effective is the vaccine?
The results from the clinical trials to date have shown all vaccines to be up to extremely effective in providing protection against COVID-19. Studies have also been consistent in finding greater than 80% reductions in rates of infection and hospitalisation, with substantial reduction in deaths.
5. Are the vaccines effective against newer strains of COVID-19, Delta Strain or the UK Strain?
Yes. So far, clinical trials are showing that the vaccine induces antibodies that can respond to a variety of mutations. Health authorities will continue to monitor the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines against variant strains.
It appears only modest differences in vaccine effectiveness were noted after the receipt of two vaccine doses and these differences were more marked after the receipt of only the first dose. This finding would support efforts to maximise vaccine uptake with two doses as a complete vaccination course.
6. Is one type of COVID-19 vaccine more effective than another?
Providing access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines for everyone in Australia is a priority for the Australian Government. The TGA assesses all COVID-19 vaccines before they can be used in Australia and will only register a vaccine if its benefits are much greater than its risks. This means every vaccine available in Australia has been proven to protect against COVID-19.
Clinical trials involve tens of thousands of participants worldwide for the vaccines have shown that both the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines are effective in preventing the development of COVID-19 symptoms and protecting against severe disease. While early research indicates that the Pfizer vaccine offers greater protection than the Astra Zeneca vaccine, vaccinating as many people as possible against COVID-19 will ensure our community is kept safe for everyone and reduces the potential of COVID-19 outbreaks, regardless of which vaccine is used.
7. Which COVID-19 vaccines are available, and which will I get at Busy Bee Pharmacy?
The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is the first vaccine to be provisionally approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) for administration to individuals 16 years and older. This vaccine is a mRNA vaccine and requires two doses, 21 days apart.
The AstraZeneca/University of Oxford (AZ) vaccine is approved for use by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) for those aged 18 years and over and requires two doses, 4-12 weeks apart. The AZ vaccine is highly effective at preventing death and severe illness among people who contract COVID-19. There has been much concern regarding this vaccine and the prevalence of blood clots in a very rare but serious side effect called thrombosis in combination with thrombocytopenia (TTS). These rare cases of TTS have been seen mostly in younger age groups therefore the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were previously the recommended vaccine for those under 60 years of age. The COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccine can be used in adults aged under 60 years where the benefits clearly outweigh the risk for that individual and the person has made an informed decision based on an understanding of the risks and benefits. People who are considering vaccination with AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine should be aware of this potential complication as part of providing informed consent.
The Moderna Spikevax vaccine is the second mRNA vaccine which has recently received provisional approval by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). This vaccine along with variant-specific versions of the vaccine (to address longer term immunity and emerging viral variants) are now available in pharmacies. Due to the similarity to the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine it is used in children and adults 12 years and over.
Which COVID-19 vaccine you receive will be primarily determined by the Australian Government based on priority, vaccine availability, safety and appropriateness. Currently most pharmacies in Western Australia are administering the Astra-Zeneca and Moderna COVID-19 vaccine only, however the Pfizer vaccine could possibly follow later in the year.
Please note that, even though we may have several vaccines available, we will be required to administer the vaccine that has been allocated to you by the government. If you have already received a first dose of any COVID-19 vaccine you will receive the same vaccine brand for your second dose.
Please also be advised that the government may change eligibility criteria for the vaccines on short notice depending on availability and other situations.
8. What are the symptoms of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS)?
This is a very rare side effect of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine but can be very serious and can cause long-term disability and death.
The condition causes thrombosis (blood clotting) and thrombocytopenia (low blood platelet counts). It is different from general clotting disorders such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or pulmonary embolism (PE). TTS can occur at different parts of the body, including the brain (called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis) and in the abdomen and the low level of blood platelets can potentially cause bleeding.
People should seek medical attention immediately if they experience any of these symptoms:
a severe persistent headache with additional features
appears at least 4 days after vaccination
does not improve with simple painkillers
may be worse when lying down or accompanied by nausea and vomiting
neurological symptoms such as:
difficulty with speech
shortness of breath or chest pain
a swollen leg
persistent abdominal (belly) pain
tiny blood spots under the skin away from the site of injection together with symptoms above.
You can use the COVID-19 vaccine side effects symptom checker if you have concerns about any symptoms after your vaccine. The checker is also available through the National Coronavirus Helpline, 1800 020 080, 24 hours a day.
9. When am I eligible to be vaccinated in pharmacy?
To find out when you are eligible to receive the vaccine, complete the COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility Checker located here. This will tell you which phase of the rollout you are in and you can choose to be notified of when you become eligible should you not be currently eligible.
10. How much will the COVID-19 vaccine cost?
The Australian government has committed to providing the COVID-19 vaccine for free to all Australian citizens, permanent residents, refugees, asylum seekers and temporary or bridging visa-holders.
Please remember to bring your Medicare card to your appointment at the pharmacy or we may not be able to administer your vaccine. If you don’t have a Medicare card, or are not eligible for Medicare, you can get your free vaccination at any Commonwealth Vaccination clinic or State/Territory Vaccination clinic.
11. Can I get the flu shot and the COVID-19 vaccine at the same time?
It is not recommended to administer a COVID-19 vaccine and a flu vaccine on the same day. There must be a minimum of 7 days between a dose of COVID-19 vaccine and the flu vaccine. This recommendation may change as more evidence becomes available.
12. When should I get my flu shot this year?
Annual immunisation is recommended in Autumn (March-May) each year prior to the peak of the flu season which usually occurs between June and September. You will need to wait at least 7 days between your flu shot and a dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
Protection from the flu vaccine is expected to develop two to three weeks after immunisation and is expected to last for the whole season, but optimal protection occurs in the first three to four months after immunisation. You should not delay immunisation until closer to winter, as the flu can occur at any time, and the peak of the flu season may come earlier than expected. Getting immunised sooner minimises the risk of catching the flu.
13. Do people who have had COVID-19 and recovered need to get vaccinated?
People who have had COVID-19 and recovered should still be vaccinated. Experts don’t yet know how long any natural immunity might last and it is therefore recommended that even if you had COVID-19 earlier, you should still get the COVID-19 vaccine when you can.
14. Why do I need to wait 15 minutes after my vaccination?
This is a requirement for any vaccination administered in Australia. Health professionals who deliver vaccinations are trained in first aid and CPR and know how to respond to an anaphylactic reaction. In the unlikely event of a severe reaction, the Pharmacist and other pharmacy team members will act immediately to provide emergency assistance.
If a serious reaction to the COVID-19 vaccine occurs, it will usually occur within 15 minutes of being vaccinated. It is important for you to wait in the pharmacy for 15 minutes after being vaccinated so you can be observed for any serious reactions.
15. Can COVID-19 vaccines cause infertility?
There is currently no evidence that antibodies formed from COVID-19 vaccination cause any problems with pregnancy, including the development of the placenta. In addition, there is no evidence suggesting that fertility problems are a side effect of ANY vaccine. People who are trying to become pregnant now or who plan to try in the future may receive the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available to them.
16. Should you take blood thinning medication (such as Aspirin) before having the AstraZeneca vaccine?
No, it is not recommended to take over the counter medicine before receiving a vaccination for the purpose of preventing potential side effects.
You should continue to take prescribed medication unless advised by your medical practitioner.
Always discuss any existing medical conditions with your doctor or pharmacist before you get any vaccine.
To date, the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) have not found any specific biological risk factors or pre-existing medical conditions that increases the risk of having thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) after the AstraZeneca vaccine. There is no evidence that suggests that taking blooding thinning medications will reduce your chance of getting this rare side effect.
17. Can I have the COVID-19 vaccine if I am pregnant or breast feeding?
The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is the recommended vaccine for pregnant women at any stage of their pregnancy. Pregnant women have a higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 and their babies also have a higher risk of being born prematurely. Real world evidence has shown that the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective for pregnancy and breastfeeding therefore women who are trying to become pregnant do not need to delay vaccination or avoid becoming pregnant after vaccination.